I don’t win things.
Raffles. Silent auctions. Loud auctions, even. Lottery tickets. Scratch cards. Festival tickets. Glastonbury? Yeah right.
I’m just not a winner.
I don’t have luck on my side. I am – in all fairness – smothered with good fortune in every other aspect of my life. But winning at some sort of random selection event?
Not once. Not ever.
So, when the email landed in my inbox a few months back, declaring that I had nabbed a much coveted place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, I didn’t quite believe it. This sort of thing didn’t happen to me.
I knew plenty of people who, like me, were suckered in to entering the ballot, having watched the socials explode with runners who were overflowing with happiness and pride last April. Their intoxicating endorphins mocked me as I scrolled through my feeds, stuffed full with exhausted smiley faces, holding their finisher medal aloft and looking as if they’d just sumitted Everest.
Infected by their drunken enthusiasm, my brain said “Bugger it. Why not.”
It then carried on getting stuck in the quicksand of hope. “Where’s the harm? It takes two minutes to enter. There’s no way I’ll get in. But at least I can say I tried. Ambition – that’s what matters.”
Sod’s law, isn’t it?
A total of 457,861 people entered the ballot. I didn’t get through in the main ballot, but was one of the “Lucky 2,000 Extra Ballot” winners, as the Virgin team so euphemistically put it.
My reaction was not so quite as positive.
The one time lady luck shines her sultry smile on me, it just happens to be for something so far removed from enjoyable you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a form of collective community punishment.
The prize is ludicrous. I’ve won the chance to run a really, really, really long way. I’ve been radomly selected for the chance to exhaust myself; to ruin my feet; to cry with stress and panic and fear.
And that’s just the four months of training.
Why wasn’t it Glastonbury tickets?